After the news broke the morning of May 1 regarding BET's cancellation of the Celebration of Gospel, after 14 years and the highest ever ratings of 2.6 million total viewers, the public's opinion poured in over media outlets and social networks. A formal response from the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Debra Lee, has yet to be given. Will BET reinstate the Celebration of Gospel or will this be a final farewell?
As reported by entertainment personality, lifestyle reporter and pop culture guru, Jawn Murray's website Always A-list, BET decided to cancel the televised event after 14 consecutive years of bringing Gospel and R&B/Soul artists together to celebrate Gospel music. This year's viewership of the Celebration of Gospel rose to its highest ever, but yet BET pulls the annual program. According to many across social media, some said that they disagreed with the cancellation, others stated that it was canceled due to lack of support given to the Gospel artists and BET sponsors. There were others that praised BET for their support over the years.
As a firm believer of action speaks louder than words, this article is to protest against the cancellation of the Celebration of Gospel. BET will be "bringing back the BET Awards, Black Girls Rock, BET Hip Hop Awards and BET Honors", according to Jawn Murray's article on Always A-list. It is saddening that BET will televise the Hip Hop Awards, which has been known to have violent incidents occur during or after the initial airing/taping, but will cancel a show that uplifts. Founder and contributor of Root Magazine, Robert Hasan James has taken the helm and created a petition to bring back the Celebration of Gospel.
In show of solidarity, the Gospel industry must speak up and against media, television and radio outlets that do not have our best interest at heart. Many of the music artists that have "made it" have come from Gospel roots. Why should their music take presidence over the music in which they were raised? Perhaps, it's because Gospel artists and its overall community continue to purchase their secular music and attend their concerts, but will not give their support to their fellow brother and sister in Christ.